Published 13/08/2019 at 12:53:11 by David Wackrill.


Howsmall 4  Phoenix II 1
Aylesbury 3  Spinners 2
Towcester 3  Warriors 2
Northants man Matt Horrocks made one of his rare forays south of the border for leaders Howsmall this week.  His last appearance was in the champion’s infamous defeat to Topspin (now languishing in 4th place in division 2) in June 2018 in what proved to be Russell Penn’s greatest ever Summer League match.  No such blip this time round, though Howsmall did get off to a shaky start with Phoenix II’s Mervyn Phillips outlasting the big hitter at 11-9 in the 7th.   No problems however for a steady Guy Sparrow while Phoenix substitute Paul Tompkins, on the lookout for a Winter League team placement, was a little out of his depth here.  So another big scalp for relative newcomer Mervyn who continues his impressive run of taking a win each week since Phoenix II’s promotion.
Alan Cherry picked up his usual brace against Aylesbury, who won the remaining sets for a fine victory over Spinners.  Aylesbury featured Biao Wang for the first time, alongside Ben Rolfe, although the Chinese star did make a guest appearance for Sweet & Sour in division 2 last month.  Pete Tillotson played for Spinners and is still finding wins hard to come by.  The doubles was always going to be the crucial set and this went Aylesbury’s way.  This pairing have had some great wins in the Aylesbury Winter league since teaming up for the first time last year and their success continues.
I mentioned the proliferation of 3-2 Summer score-lines last week and the main protagonists have been Towcester, who clocked up their 9th this week, including all 3 of their meetings with Warriors.  Iain Lindsay got Towcester off to a flyer when taking out Michael Wilkins in straight games and later came from 2 down to beat Ricky Taiwo.  With Ian Brown failing to win either singles the fate of this match also came down to the doubles, won in 5 games by Towcester in a late finish to inflict Warrior’s first match  defeat of the season. This was Towcester’s 8th doubles win of the Summer, only Howsmall have won more, and elevates them to 3rd spot in the table.

Player of the week is Iain Lindsay.
Howsmall (49 points)
Warriors (40)
Towcester (26)
Spinners (25)
Aylesbury (25)
Phoenix II (15)
(courtesy of Mike Ainsworth)
• Hit n Hope 0 Phoenix I 5
• Sweet and Sour 4 Blades 1
• Topspin 3 Tornadoes 2
• Classics 2 Stormers 3

With just two weeks remaining in the Milton Keynes Summer League division 2 the title is Phoenix I’s to lose as they gained further points on their rivals this week with a 5-0 win over Hit n Hope.
But if the final score was emphatic Phoenix were fortunate to come away with wins in at least two of the sets on the night. In both cases the unlucky loser was Ivor Howard who held a 3-1 lead and then had match points against Ioan Constantin before losing in the decider and then led Gerald Ridgway by 9-6 in the decider before losing at deuce. The other player for Hit n Hope was Mike Ainsworth.

As Phoenix I were winning their 5th successive 5-0 win out of six matches their rivals were dropping point all over the place and, in the case of second placed Stormers, once again it was Dylan Cox who was the thorn in their side with a terrific win against Dave Wackrill and a win in the doubles with Nick Markham against Dave and Andy Smith. In the end a hard fought 3-2 win for Stormers against Classics and Stormers will be disappointed to see the gap between their team and Phoenix I increase to nine points, whilst Sweet and Sour are breathing down their necks in third place just one point in arrears.

Third placed Sweet and Sour faced bottom markers Blades with Tony Coomber stepping in at the last minute for Bill Tyler, who was (is?) stuck in traffic on the M5. No luck for Tony against the regular Sweet and Sour pairing of Julie Snowdon and Terry Lau but this time Terry must have decided to leave his tactics at home against Brian Evans as Brian scored the only point for Blades with a 4-1 win against Terry.

Last time Topspin played Tornadoes they won 5-0 but Russell Penn was honest enough to say that the youngsters had been a little unlucky to come away pointless. Well in the return leg they went some way to rectify this as both Tanmay Tijare and Nicholas Wong had wins against Russell and both had good games against Mervyn Kelly although the greater experience of Mervyn helped him to two wins on the night. With the doubles going the way of Topspin a 3-2 result was probably a much fairer reflection than the earlier result. Topspin now play Phoenix I in week 13 and the rumour is that star player Mal Hussain will make an appearance. However, Phoenix I need just two points for the title and few would bet against them being champions this time next week.

Player of the week: Dylan Cox

Week 12 Table:
1)        Phoenix I 52 
2)       Stormers 43  
3)        Sweet and Sour 42  
4)        Topspin 37   
5)        Hit n Hope 20  
6)        Tornadoes 19 
7)        Classics 17  
8)        Blades 10